Why now is the time to invest in UK hotels

(Travelodge London Liverpool Street)

Last week we noted that global investors were seeking UK hotel deals in the wake of the Brexit. Last month, King Express Development, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Magnificent Real Estate, paid just over £70 million for the 408-room Travelodge London Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel.

The deals show no sign of slowing down. This week, following in King Express Development's footsteps, Chinese property tycoon Zhang Songqiao’s real estate investment firm acquired the Travelodge Liverpool Street Hotel in Central London from two investment holding companies based in Luxembourg. The hotel sold for £42.3 million—in dollar terms, CNN noted, that's nearly $8 million cheaper than before the Brexit vote. 

The Y. T. Realty Group said its purchase of the 142-room hotel complex “will further expand the Group’s overseas property portfolio and enhance its strategic investment in well-developed markets such as the United Kingdom. It is expected that the London Property will generate a stable and recurrent rental income for the Group.”

Why Now? 

Since the referendum was approved, the pound’s value has dropped 12 percent, and the drop has made UK assets more attractive to overseas investors.

But while exchange rates are better, they’re not the only reason why real estate in the UK is suddenly so appealing. Several big U.K. asset management firms have frozen their commercial property funds or slashed their prices for investors who want to withdraw from them since the vote passed. Aberdeen Asset Management imposed a 17-percent price cut on its U.K. property fund, while L&G cut the value of its real estate fund by 10 percent.